Twenty years ago this week we were just startinjg the massive clean up and repair work required after the ice storm. Our trees were severly damaged and assessed with 60% crown damage. The 200 and 300 year old trees were hit the hardest and have been very slow to recover. Several have died but are being replaced by younger trees that were waiting for their chance to grow. Surprisingly our maple plantation with 25 year old trees escaped almost unharmed.
At the edge of the sugar bush the fringe of saplings had frozen into a solid ice wall. We had to cut doorways with the chain saw to gain access to the bush. The pipelines and tubing installed ready for the next season were all buried under a 2 to 3 inch crust of ice. Once again we used out chain saws to cut through the crust along the pipe lines. We installed new tubing as the old tubing was too badly damaged to repair. With our regular crew, volunteers and two days help by the army we were able to completely restore the system in time for the spring syrup season. We lost about 500 of our 4000 taps due to broken trees and reduced tapping density to help the trees recover. The good news is that the bush has recovered and with the new trees that can now be tapped we have regained our 500 taps.
Tree damage is still very visible on the older trees. The next time you visit a sugar bush look for damage and think of the trauma among the maple producers as they saw their precious trees in such severe distress